11/02/2014 World News Today


11/02/2014

The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.


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This is BBC World News Today with me, Philippa Thomas. David Cameron

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cancels his trip to the Middle East to deal with the worst English

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flooding in decades. It's been the most exceptional period of rain in

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the UK for more than 200 years - with at least 1,000 homes evacuated

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and in some areas tempers are rising as fast as the floodwaters. It is

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about time someone does something and come out and don't leave us

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stranded. Men and boys have been detained by the Syrian authorities

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during the evacuation of Homs. The Governor there says some could face

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arrest and trial. We'll get the latest from inside that besieged

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city. Also coming up: He may be having a difficult time at home, but

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it's a warm welcome at the White House for France's President

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Hollande. Saying goodbye to Hollywood sweetheart Shirley Temple

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who sang and danced her way into the hearts of Depression-era America and

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died today at the age of 85. Hello and welcome. 1,600 troops are

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on standby as severe flood alerts affect towns and villages along the

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River Thames - after what the Prime Minister David Cameron described

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today as the wettest English winter for 250 years. Roads and rail tracks

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are under water, more than 1,000 homes have been evacuated and Mr

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Cameron has cancelled his planned visit to the Middle East to focus on

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what has become a political and logistical emergency. Let's give you

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an idea of the impact of the flooding now with our correspondent.

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He is in Berkshire. I'm in the Thames Valley and communities from

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here where I am in Marlow down stream towards London are feeling

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the full impact of the floods. It has been raining so much the ground

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is so water-logged the river levels have been rising so fast that many

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homes have been flooded and more are at risk. In this town, some

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residents are saying they haven't seen it as bad as this for 40 years.

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We have seen pumps being set up and the army coming in, people

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sandbagging their homes and businesses. But many people say that

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all of this is rather too late. But more resources are being brought in.

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Jon Kay reports. High visibility - a Prime Minister keen to be seen.

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Visiting Devon's fractured railway line, insisting he will get

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storm-batter Britain back on track. If money needs to be spent, it will

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be spent. If resources are required, we will provide them. If the

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military can help they will be there. We must do everything, but it

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is going to take time to get things right. Next stop - Taunton. The

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Prime Minister had cancelled today's cabinet meeting to be here instead.

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In this control room the response to the Somerset Levels flooding has

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been co-ordinated and after all the criticism and blame, a chance to

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show a united front. A bit of welcome sunshine in Somerset today.

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But many here told us they wanted Mr Cameron to spend some of Britain's

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foreign aid budget helping flood victims at home. Some of the

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millions that is being sent to help people abroad, OK people abroad need

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help. We do here. This part of the country is in chaos. The school

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where Nicky teaches was closed by flooding today and she told she she

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wants to see more led leadership from the Prime Minister. I think

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he's panicking, because he doesn't quite know what to do. And it is an

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unusual situation and I do realise we are experiencing unusual weather,

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however there are still people cut off and people without provision. If

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David Cameron thought the South West was wet, wait until he reached the

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Thames Valley. In Staines he surprised people living on flooded

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Guilford Street. Mr Cameron has been in there holding a private meeting

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with residents about the state of their overflowing drains. Not the

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kind of think you would expect a Prime Minister to be dealing with

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himself. Burr he knows that his leadership will be judged by the way

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he deals with this whole wider crisis. And those who met him today

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agree. If action's not taken then all we can do is vote. Really it

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will make a difference to the way you vote? Yeah, I will vote for

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whoever fixes this problem. From Guilford Street, back to Downing

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Street and this message tonight. There is absolutely no sign of this

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threat abating. And with further rain and strong winds forecast

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throughout the week, things may well get worse before they get better.

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The Prime Minister announced he was cancelling his trip to the Middle

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East next week. Instead he will deal with the crisis in middle England.

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We could be talking about a lot of resources in the short and

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long-term. Where is it going to come from? Well, these two separate

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issues - the short and long-term. The Prime Minister said money was no

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object in terms of dealing with what needs to be done now. There will be

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questions about which budget that comes from. And then there is the

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issue about what should be done to make sure this doesn't happen again,

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or at least happen on this scale. That is not an issue just for here

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in the Thames Valley, but also in the South West, where there has been

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flooding for weeks now. Calms for more dredge - calls for more

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dredging and flood defences there. That is more costly and involves a

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lot more long-term commitment. Thank you. Let's talk to BBC Weather

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presenter Nina Ridge. One reason we are leading with this story, it is

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not just a weather event in Britain. This is sustained rain faufl having

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a -- rain fall having a damaging effect. Are we looking at climate

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change? As yet we have no tive answer. But there are some

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fundamental laws of physics that we can't get away from. As the world

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warms, which it has been doing, it will hold more water and many

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studies will indicate that we should inspect -- expect more intense ra

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fall as a result. There are studies which have forecasted that Atlantic

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storms would get more intense and have a more southerly track. That

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would fit with the pattern we have had this winter. You have been

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looking at patterns of weather around the world. How do they lock

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together? The different stories we have had through different

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continents. Yes, it is global weather. The weather we have been

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here we can link back to things in the Pacific. It has been unusually

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warm in the Pacific, which has brought enhanced rain fall across

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Indonesia. And then the jet stream has given cold air across Canada,

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central United States and Texas. In turn the jet stream across the North

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Atlantic has been intensified and set across parts of southern UK.

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That is why we have so many storms. And why you tell us to expect for

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this winter in the northern hemisphere more unsettled weather?

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Yes there is more unsettled weather. For the UK next week perhaps drier.

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But over all the jet stream looks stuck in place for a while yet. So

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there is a difficulty for politicians and planners in trying

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to work out what to do. The ground is soed soen, you -- wet you can't

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pump it away. We are expecting around a month's worth of rain still

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to fall by the end of Friday. It is a huge amount of water that has

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nowhere to go. Thank you. United Nations aid agencies say they're

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concerned about what's happening to the men and boys among the hundreds

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of civilians evacuated from the Syrian city of Homs - a city where

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people have been living in desperate circumstances under siege for the

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last 18 months. Large numbers of the men trying to leave during a locally

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agreed ceasefire have been detained for what the Syrian authorities call

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screening. Let's try to go to Homs now and speak with the UN's

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Humanitarian Coordinator Yacoub el Hillo. Thank you for speaking to us.

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Is it your understanding that the evacuation process is still under

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way? Thank you very much. It has been under way for the last three or

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four days and we have over a thousand people have come out of the

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old city of Homs. Into the larger city. This is a part of a deal that

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was agreed by and Government of Syria and the opposition groups

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inside the old city, which also provide this agreement for the

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delivery of humanitarian assistance inside the old city of Homs.

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Something that we have been able to partially achieve two days ago. So

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yes, people have been able to come out. And some partial achievement

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has been realised in delivering aid to the old city after what some

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calculated as 600 days. Are you concerned about what's happening to

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these men and teenage boys, they seem to be being separated from

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their families as they leave Homs? When they arrive, or when a they

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leave do you mean? Well I will take your information from the ground,

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but what we have been hearing is it as they leave the city, the men and

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boys are being taken aside and detained, questioned. Well, we have

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been actually running this exercise, this humanitarian exercise since the

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world go. And by we, I mean the UN agencies, as well as our partners,

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the Syrian Red Cross and Syrian remember crescent. At no moment have

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we actually men or... Are separated from their families. There is a

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facility prepared to receive families leaving the old city. But

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since all of the families that have come out so far opted to go

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elsewhere. In and around Homs city. The shelter, or the transit facility

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was available to receive these men, who are they? They are men under the

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age of 55, but maems whose age is 16 years and above. -- males. We were

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actually quite impressed that quite a number of males in this category

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chose to come out and that was the day bhfr yesterday -- before

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yesterday and even more yesterday. So the agreement with the Syrian

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Government was the arrival of these individuals came outside the pe

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rammer thes of the humanitarian - parameters of the humanitarian

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arrangement. But they will transferred with their families to

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this transit facility. That is where they are now. Many left today after

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having gone through the process of regularising their statements and

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checking if there was anything outstanding in their name while they

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were not able to be here out of the old city. 111 have left that

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facility, many with their families. So they were not separated. It is

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good to get the late fres you -- latest from you. Thank you. The US

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President Barack Obama today described the situation in Syria as

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fluid, saying Washington does not see a military solution to the

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situation there. He was speaking during his joint news conference

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with the French president Francois Hollande - after the two leaders

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held policy talks in the Oval Office. This visit marks a new era

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in US-French relations, which sank to a low a decade ago over the Iraq

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war. But Mr Obama was careful to be diplomatic when asked which European

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ally matters most to Washington. I have two daughters! And they're both

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gorgeous and wonderful. And I would never choose between them. And that

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is how I feel about my outstanding European partners. All of them are

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wonderful in their own ways. Now, to the serious part of the question,

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what I do believe is that the US/French alliance has never been

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stronger. And the levels of co-operation that we are seeing

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across a whole range of issues is much deeper than it was I think five

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years ago, ten years ago, 20 years ago. With me is Eric Albert, a

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London-based French Journalist working for Radio France and Le

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Monde. Now a look at some of the days other news. Which matters

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really matter to President Obama? The one thing for sure there is no

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big disagreement like there was on Iraq ten years ago. There is no big

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frontal kis a-- disagreement and there has been quite a few

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agreements on what France does in Africa in Mali and the central

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republic of Africa. France went there and the US, Barack Obama is

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happy to let France do it with some support, but not too much. Barack

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Obama ips not like -- is not like George Bush, somebody who wants to

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intervene. And the European influence in Africa so, he can step

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back. Yes. And the relationship is warmer, friendlier than before. It

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is better than the cheese surrender monkeys of the George Bush era. But

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there was no big treaty, no big trade agreement. Relationships are

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fine. It doesn't mean we are at a turning point or anything concrete

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has changed. Do you think there is any anguish in France? In Britain

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there is a worry about what happened to the special relationship with

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America looking to China for example. Do the French care as much?

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There was this fighting between France and the US. Britain almost

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wanted to beat the special friend. Barack Obama, he said he has two

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daughters and will not choose between them. The real shift is,

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Barack Obama is shifting towards the West, shifting towards retreating in

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places like Africa and Syria. President Hollande wanted to strike

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in Syria, Oregon Obama was the one who stopped it. France has a

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slightly friendlier relationship with America. Also, to be treated

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with dignity over the runaround by the international media over his

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private life? His private life has probably been more played on

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international media than in France. The page has turned. He dumped his

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girlfriend, it is over. He is a single man. He has no first lady

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being paid by the state. So things have gone back to a normal state of

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affairs now. So he can talk about the important things like Syria and

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Iran and climate change? That is one thing they are both trying to move

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forward. There will be a big climate change summit next year in France.

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With the US summit on board, aims might change. We will have to leave

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it there, but thank you. A moment of history for Beijing and

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Taipei today. Two capitals embarking on their highest level meeting since

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the end of China's civil war in 1949. Since the 50s Taiwan has

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called itself the Republic of China. Beijing has always insisted it has

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territorial rights over the island and has refused to rule out military

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force to take it over. But Taiwan's Minister of Mainland Affairs is in

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Nanjing on the Chinese mainland for talks with his opposite number.

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Could it be the key step towards normalised relations? Emily Buchanan

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reports. Carefully choreographed, the first

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handshake between two historic rivals. It is a big step between

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China and Taiwan, set symbolically in Nanjing, China's B for the

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Communists took over. The tables were laid out in perfect symmetry

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with no provocative flags. TRANSLATION: we need to apply a bit

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of creativity if we want to achieve a breakthrough in the relationship.

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We need to make efforts to make meetings like this happen. Taiwan's

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delegate was equally conciliar tree. TRANSLATION: we are able to sit down

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for a meeting to discuss issues concerning both sides and we should

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cherish this peaceful and stable momentum. I hope we can further

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promote the relationship on the basis of the consensus reached

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previously. Civil war and revolutions split the

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Chinese people. Chinese and Taiwan have had separate government since

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1949. The defeated Nationalists fled to Taiwan. China still considers

:19:20.:19:23.

Taiwan part of its territory, but Taiwan has never formally given up

:19:24.:19:27.

its claim to be the rightful government of China. But in 1971

:19:28.:19:35.

Taiwan lost its seat to China. In 1979 it received a further blow when

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the US officially recognised the people's Republic of China in

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Beijing. Recently, relations have been boring since 2008. Two years

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later, the president oversaw a trade pact with China, but many Taiwanese

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worried it was the first step in being taken over by Beijing. In

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spite of the diplomatic niceties, there are still lingering doubts

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about Taiwan's future sovereign tree.

:20:05.:20:17.

More than 100 people are feared dead in Algeria after a military

:20:18.:20:19.

transport plane crashed. One survivor was found. Bad weather was

:20:20.:20:25.

suggested as a possible cause. It went down in a mountainous area in

:20:26.:20:28.

the East of Algeria. The organisers of the World Cup in

:20:29.:20:33.

cat have published a charter of workers right after fever urged the

:20:34.:20:38.

state to revise its working practices. It is alleged 155

:20:39.:20:47.

Nepalese workers died there last year in work-related incidents.

:20:48.:20:55.

India has lifted its ban on the Russian Olympics. Fresh elections

:20:56.:21:01.

were conducted on Sunday which was seen as fair and the lifting of the

:21:02.:21:04.

ban means Indian athletes in Sochi who had been competing under the IOC

:21:05.:21:11.

flag can now compete under their national flag instead.

:21:12.:21:20.

It is the fourth day of the Winter Olympics in the Russian Black Sea

:21:21.:21:24.

resort of Sochi. Snowboarding legend Shaun White pulled out of the

:21:25.:21:26.

Slopestyle event earlier in The Games to focus on the men's half

:21:27.:21:31.

pipe. Tulsen Tollett is in the BBC Sports Centre. How did he get on?

:21:32.:21:34.

Not great. He was looking for his third consecutive gold medal. Shaun

:21:35.:21:43.

White won the last two Olympic Games, bidding for his third gold

:21:44.:21:47.

medal. His first run, unfortunately he fell. He could not get the

:21:48.:21:54.

victory. His second run was not good enough. He finished in fourth. The

:21:55.:22:01.

man who won is from Switzerland and who is factually known as iPod. He

:22:02.:22:05.

has been a big rival of Shaun White over the past few years. The

:22:06.:22:12.

15-year-old Japanese in there as well, who came in third place. The

:22:13.:22:20.

move which one it the iPod was called a yo-yo. I will not explain

:22:21.:22:24.

to you how it was because it was very difficult. The big event on

:22:25.:22:29.

Tuesday was the women's downhill ski jumping. The first time since the

:22:30.:22:34.

1924 Winter Olympic games this has been introduced. The Japanese,

:22:35.:22:41.

17-year-old was the favourite. The world number one. But she could only

:22:42.:22:48.

manage fourth. The winner was from Germany who was the last to go with

:22:49.:22:53.

a combined score of 247.4, which gained her the victory. There were

:22:54.:22:59.

eight gold medals on offer on Tuesday. Six others to speak of. If

:23:00.:23:03.

you want the information on those, go to our website.

:23:04.:23:12.

The actress Shirley Temple has died at the age of 85 after a career

:23:13.:23:16.

which you could say peaked at the age of five. The former Hollywood

:23:17.:23:20.

child star helped to raise American morale during the Great Depression

:23:21.:23:23.

of the early 1930s and later became a US diplomat to Africa and Europe.

:23:24.:23:27.

David Sillito looks back at her life.

:23:28.:23:37.

With her ringlets, dimples and talent, Shirley Temple was a child

:23:38.:23:46.

star without equal. Indeed she was Hollywood's biggest star in the late

:23:47.:23:52.

30s. Her innocent charm one box office magic. But her mother,

:23:53.:23:58.

Gertrude, had started her out in the less than wholesome baby burlesque.

:23:59.:24:03.

She was only four years old at the time. It wasn't long before she got

:24:04.:24:08.

the chance to show off her real talent for song and dance.

:24:09.:24:26.

Her popularity saved the FOX studios from bankruptcy and her optimistic

:24:27.:24:30.

films where an escape from the hard times of the 30s. Surely got her

:24:31.:24:39.

first car. It it is a shame she cannot run it anywhere else but in

:24:40.:24:42.

the studio grounds. She drives like a grown-up woman. She appeared to

:24:43.:24:49.

have everything and even had her own baby Oscar. What she did not have a

:24:50.:24:55.

friend is her own age. Mummy, can we go now? When she missed out on The

:24:56.:25:00.

Wizard of Oz to Judy Garland, it was the beginning of the end of her

:25:01.:25:04.

career and her well. She was just 12. Out of the $3,200,000 that I had

:25:05.:25:12.

earned from everything, all sales and books and things, I had $44,000

:25:13.:25:24.

left in a trust account. I wasn't upset, I was shocked. After her

:25:25.:25:31.

first marriage failed and her career stalled, she remarried and

:25:32.:25:35.

re-emerged into public life. I am dedicating my life and my energies

:25:36.:25:43.

to public service because I think our country needs it now more than

:25:44.:25:47.

it ever has before. And I want to help. Shirley Temple Black. Shirley

:25:48.:25:55.

Temple Black moved into politics and became an ambassador to Ghana and

:25:56.:25:59.

checkers are back here, as well as the White House Chief of Protocol.

:26:00.:26:07.

It was a startling reinvention, but whatever she did, most people will

:26:08.:26:12.

always remember her as America's little princess.

:26:13.:26:19.

Oh M Douglas! We will end the programme of a royal

:26:20.:26:27.

visit to our own newsroom. Prince Charles and Camilla were given a

:26:28.:26:31.

tour of the BBC and they met editors and producers working on our

:26:32.:26:36.

television and radio programmes. And also the World Service programme

:26:37.:26:42.

which will launch on Monday. They are doing rehearsals for that at the

:26:43.:26:46.

moment. This is World News Today. From me

:26:47.:26:51.

and the rest of the team, thanks for being with us.

:26:52.:26:51.

Whilst we are continuing to be concerned about the amount of

:26:52.:27:08.

rainfall, there is also likely to be sleet and snow through the night and

:27:09.:27:11.

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